Facial swelling is the buildup of fluid in the tissues of the face. Swelling may also affect the neck and upper arms.
If the facial swelling is mild, it may be hard to detect. Let the health care provider know the following:
- Pain, and where it hurts
- How long the swelling has lasted
- What makes it better or worse
- If you have other symptoms
Causes of facial swelling may include:
Apply cold compresses to reduce swelling from an injury. Raise the head of the bed (or use extra pillows) to help reduce facial swelling.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your provider if you have:
- Sudden, painful, or severe facial swelling
- Facial swelling that lasts a while, particularly if it is getting worse over time
- Difficulty breathing
- Fever, tenderness, or redness, which suggests infection
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
Emergency treatment is needed if facial swelling is caused by burns, or if you have breathing problems.
The provider will ask about your medical and personal history. This helps determine treatment or if any medical tests are needed. Questions may include:
- How long has the facial swelling lasted?
- When did it begin?
- What makes it worse?
- What makes it better?
- Have you come into contact with something you might be allergic to?
- What medicines are you taking?
- Did you recently injure your face?
- Did you have a medical test or surgery recently?
- What other symptoms do you have? For example: facial pain, sneezing, difficulty breathing, hives or rash, eye redness, fever.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
This information should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. © 1997- 2007 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.